Hummers have happy home

By Michelle Seeber

Gardener delights in turning Clovis yard into a colorful paradise.

Hummingbirds love Betty Dunlap’s yard.
They swarm to her gardens of hibiscus flowers and honeysuckle plants.
“I put out about 20 hummingbird feeders a year,” Dunlap said.
Dunlap, 69, is one of 15 members that make up the Encanto Garden Club in Clovis.
Dunlap, who moved from Albuquerque in 1996, has 2 1/2 acres of land planted with a variety of gardens, trees and rose bushes southwest of Clovis.
The back room of her home is filled with spades, hoes, rakes and an almost uncountable number of other gardening tools that include water timers and parts for watering systems.
Because of the size of her property, she travels in a golf cart from one garden to another and from one grove of trees to another.
Dunlap said she has been a gardener ever since she became an adult.
As such, when she moved to her property near Clovis, she couldn’t bear the naked landscape.
“I couldn’t live with barren land,” she said. “I planted buffalo grass, a native grass that doesn’t require a lot of water. I planted shade trees and Scotch pine and Ponderosa pine and Arizona Cypress and other types of trees.”
She also planted a gourd garden that she replants each May and a vegetable garden of Japanese cantaloupe that she replants in mid-April, along with corn, watermelon and tomatoes.
“My specialty is Japanese cantaloupe,” she said. “They’re so good! Ordinary cantaloupe is tasteless compared to these.”
In addition to her shade trees and vegetable gardens, she planted trees that form a windbreak.
“My back yard is practically windless,” she said, adding, “birds feed from my trees.”
Her tomato plants, already blossoming, will ripen early this year, she said.
Her rose garden, composed of eight or nine bushes, is also home to wild flowers.
That doesn’t include the forsythia and day lilies.
After 9-11, she planted a red, white and blue tulip garden in front of her home in commemoration of the people killed when the World Trade Center collapsed.
“I’ve always liked the outdoors and to putter in the back yard,” she said of her gardening talents. “I have tools and drawers full of items for repairing my drip system and underground mole and gopher dispellers. Of course there are items for the lawnmowers.”
The Encanto Garden Club, she said, meets at 9:30 a.m. the second Tuesday of every month in members’ homes.
“We have speakers who come and give talks about gardening and plants,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot.
“This month,” she said, “we’re going to take a tour of the new nursery in Portales.”
Jacque Wuest of Clovis is also a member of the garden club.
“We certainly have a good group,” she said. “As vice president of the organization, I help arrange speakers and put together the yearbook.
“We (tour) different places and look at nurseries and garden shops,” she said. “We also do the Curry County flower show for arrangements and placements.”
As a gardener, Wuest has become interested in grasses.
“I think that’s going to be pretty popular this year,” she said.
Wuest likes working with wildflowers best, though, she said.
“A wildflower is exactly that,” she said. “Some you can dry and use in arrangements. Some you can use just for pleasure. They’re pretty temperamental and interesting. They come up and grow whenever and wherever they feel like it.”
Both Wuest and Dunlap welcomed any guests who would like to visit the garden club.
“We have good speakers,” Wuest said. “We also donate advice and money to the Hillcrest Park Zoo every year.”
For information, Wuest can be reached at 762-6955 and Dunlap at 762-8212.